Arsene Wenger hails Arsenal's mental strength after victory over Aston Villa

Frenchman admits Tottenham game was in players' minds
Arsene Wenger has hailed his Arsenal side's mental resilience after their 4-2 victory at Aston Villa piled on the pressure at the top of the Premier League table.

The away side totally dominated the first half, but only took the lead five minutes prior to the break through Andrey Arshavin, before Samir Nasri netted a second, and Wenger admitted that his side had last week's capitulation in the north London derby against Tottenham in their minds in the dressing room at half-time.

He told reporters after the game: "You felt among the players that what happened last week had an impact in their heads.

"When they came back to 2-1 it was an interesting test for my team: they could crumble or score again, and they scored again."

Arsenal swiftly restored their two-goal advantage through Marouane Chamakh before Ciaran Clark netted his second goal to set-up a tense finale. However, Jack Wilshere sealed victory in injury time to send Arsenal top of the table for a few hours at least.

The win comes off the back of two successive defeats, but Wenger expressed his satisfaction with his side's displays against Tottenham and Braga.

"I believe we have had three good performances," he said.

"For me, against Tottenham we played well and had a lot of possession. It was a very different game at Braga and we performed well again today.

"Overall you focus on the performance, and you do not always lose when you dominate games.

"Today we played well. Villa had a good response in the second half, but we managed to find the resources to win the game."

Wenger had particular praise for goalscorer Arshavin, who had been left out of the starting line-up in recent weeks.

He said: "He was very sharp today, I felt he was always dangerous. A good test is when you like a player to have the ball and he always seemed to have the ball, and you sensed he could make a difference."

And the Frenchman also revealed that he was confident ahead of the game, despite the absence of captain Cesc Fabregas, who is likely not to feature until Arsenal clash with Manchester United in mid-December.

Asked whether his side missed their captain and had stepped up to fill the void, he replied: "No, not really. Ideally we want Cesc to be there, but I was confident before the game that we have a way we want to play football.

"Everybody integrates when they play and of course Cesc is a special talent, but no matter who plays we can have good team play."

Arsenal's win at Villa Park continues their stellar away form, but things have not been so well at the Emirates, where Wenger's side have dropped points of late, but the long-serving boss does not believe that there is a deep-rooted problem.

"I feel it is a coincidence," said Wenger. "I don't believe we have one [a problem]. I prefer to have the problem this way round than the other.

"At least you know you can win away, at home, at some stage, you know that you will get things right."

Follow the Premier League LIVE on
Commentaries, Stats, Player Ratings and much more,
Visit Live Scores!